Tours and Tickets
Embera Village Day Tour

Embera Village Day Tour

By Embera Village Tours & More
Recommended by 90% of travellers
90% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 1-99, max of 15 per group
Duration: 8h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Live guide: English, Italian, French, Spanish

  • Local taxes
  • National Park fees
  • Lunch
  • All activities
  • Driver/guide
  • Live commentary on board
  • Local guide
  • Hotel/port pickup and drop-off
  • Small-group
What's not included
  • Gratuities
  • Outlying areas such as Playa Bonita and Tocumen have a USD 50 surcharge

Departure details
  • Traveller pickup is offered.
  • We pick up at any hotel, house, AirBNB or cruise ship port within Panama City. Outlying areas such as Playa Bonita and Tocumen have a $50 surcharge. Special arrangements at an additional charge can be made for pick up at the Colon port.
  • Ports:
  • Terminal de Cruceros de Amador, Unnamed Road, Panama City, Panama
  • Hotel pickup is offered. View the hotel list on our checkout page to see if yours is included among the pickup points.

  • Not wheelchair accessible
If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 22161P2

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • At time of booking, Cruise ship passengers must provide the following information at time of booking: ship name, docking time, disembarkation time and re-boarding time
  • Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking
  • A minimum of people per booking is required
  • Collapsible wheelchairs with removable wheels can be accommodated providing the passenger is accompanied by someone who can assist them board and disembark
  • A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travellers

  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

How much is Embera Village Day Tour?
Embera Village Day Tour price starts from C$264.99. Discover and book Embera Village Day Tour on Tripadvisor
What is the Embera Village Day Tour cancellation policy?
Embera Village Day Tour cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Embera Village Day Tour on Tripadvisor
Which company provides Embera Village Day Tour?
Embera Village Day Tour is hosted by Embera Village Tours & More. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Embera Village Tours & More on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Embera Village Day Tour on Tripadvisor

If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 22161P2

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About the operator
Embera Village Tours & More
Panama City, Panama
Joined in April 2010

#32 of 471 Tours & Activities in Panama City
  • blackrice
    Disenchantment in Paradise: A Sobering Trip to Embera Puru Village (LR)
    Introduction: Growing up with National Geographic on my suburban American coffee table, tribal life always held a special fascination for me. The exotic imagery of topless women, loin-clothed men, intricate tattoos, and vibrant adornments, combined with the unique community structure and absence of modern technology, fueled my desire to explore the other side of the world and reconnect with our roots. After extensive research, my partner and I decided to book a tour with Embera Village Tours, and Shirley, the American woman who runs the website, was instrumental in arranging our visit. Booking Process and Cost Breakdown: Six settlements are situated near Panama, with the second furthest being Embera Puru and one more (further still) that doesn't accept visitors. The four closest to town can get swamped with dozens of day tourists and cruise-ship travelers. Embera Puru seemed the most authentic for us. The website displayed captivating photos of joyous children, busy villagers, and centuries-old traditions. Excited about the photographic opportunities (we’re both street photographers) and eager to immerse ourselves in tribal life, we were willing to pay the high price for this unique adventure and life-long dream. The total cost for two nights amounted to $1,300, part of that sum being an additional $240 charge ($120 per person) for visiting Embera Puru due to the ‘challenges posed by low river levels.’ We paid a deposit of $325 and settled the remaining $970 upon our arrival. It is important to note that the tour company likely retained the deposit while the remaining $970 was distributing among the guide, the tribe, and the taxi driver. We have no way of knowing how much ultimately went to the village. Arrival and Initial Impressions: Our guide, Jose, picked us up from our hotel in his small car and drove us approximately an hour and a half along roads that got increasingly worse. We eventually switched to a 4-wheel drive truck, which took us about 30 minutes to reach the river. 30 minutes after a fun walk through the mud (bring disposable shoes!), two male Embera villagers arrived in their longboats, and we embarked on our river journey. While the water levels were low in three places, the journey was smooth, leaving us questioning the justification for the extra charge. We noticed plenty of other longboats carrying people along our journey and throughout our stay. What was the cause for the high price increase?! (Silly tourist tax I guess) ;) Upon arrival at the village, we realized that the experience was about to diverge wildly from our expectations. There was no welcome or anything. I wasn’t expecting a mai Thai, a lei place around our necks or Mr. Roarke saying ‘welcome, welcome’ - but we were just meekly marched up from the rocky beach and shown our accommodation with no fanfare. The villagers' houses, built on stilts approximately three meters high, surrounded us. As tourists, our accommodation consisted of a flat platform with a thatched roof adjacent to the the meeting hall (which was as impressive as our lodgings were unimpressive) . From our vantage point, we could see three other huts. However, as a hint to future travelers - don’t linger on the sight of the three huts as you will soon discover it will encompass your only visual stimulation throughout your stay. Living in a Fishbowl: Most of the huts in the village had a porch with a kitchen (sand stove) area attached, followed by a walled-off living area for the families. Colorful fabric hung in various places, adding aesthetic appeal and perhaps providing privacy. Unfortunately, we did not have such luxuries. Instead, we spent our time on a raised platform without any semblance of privacy. Strangely, the initial concern about exploiting the tribe faded, and we began to feel like the animals in a zoo. At any time, the villagers could look out from their private huts and observe the foreigners, turning our experience into a performance on a theater stage. Limited Interaction and Activities: Shortly after our arrival, the village leader greeted us, and a woman showcased the tribe's handicraft abilities, answering our questions about tattoo washes and how she made the handicrafts. However, these interactions marked the extent of our engagement with the villagers. For the remainder of our stay, we were left largely to ourselves, with meals being prepared for us three times a day. This lack of interaction proved to be our least favorite aspect of the experience. Contrary to the photos on the website, depicting joyful children playing and a link suggesting items to bring for them, we found ourselves with little opportunity to interact, play, or take photographs. We had brought bags of individually wrapped candies, a frisbee, balls, a deflated soccer ball, balloons, bubble wands, and other toys, envisioning a vibrant exchange with the children. However, our hopes were pretty much hammered as we were taken to the schoolhouse later in the day to drop off our gifts and then promptly ushered out. We never saw the children again. The village offered minimal attractions. We could ascend a hill for a view of the schoolhouse or take a 20-meter stroll to the river. During long stretches of six hours, we would be fortunate to spot two villagers in the distance or observe a child descending and ascending a ladder. Despite the village supposedly comprising 28 houses and a population of 128, we encountered fewer than 10 houses and a mere fraction of the population - and only when it came time to sell us goods. Questionable Authenticity: The village's authenticity turned out to be a mix of traditional and modern elements. While a schoolhouse existed, with mandatory attendance for children and a teacher sent from the city on weekdays, it hardly resembled a traditional tribal education. Moreover, electricity had infiltrated the village to varying degrees. Some parts of the village were connected by electric cables spanning the river, while others relied on flashlights for illumination. One house on the left was even full lit up with electricity! There was a double freezer for the tribe. Although we enjoyed observing the preparation of our meals, the absence of visible crops or livestock, except for banana, lime, and mango trees, raised suspicions that the village may have become reliant on their weekly grocery store trips. Additionally, the vibrant fabric that adorned the village was sourced from China, raising doubts about its authenticity. Although our guide claimed that the villagers had designed the fabric, its distinct Asian motifs, such as lotus flowers and birthday cake designs, seemed incongruous with the rainforest environment. We couldn't help but question the validity of these claims - but who knows. We waited all day, and nothing happened, darkness fell and we had 12hr to swing in the hammock or take turns laying on a mattress covered in plastic (which made it very hot). There were no lights and that’s fine, this is what we came for. I’m not bemoaning the lack of comforts - in part this very long night was our favorite part of the trip! In the morning we woke up at first light and were told that later the tribe would like to show us some of their handicrafts. Cool. We were both interested in any silver, beads or hand-wrought jewelry they might have made. A few hours later - inside the main hall 8 or 9 families unpacked their sacks of items and laid them out. Note - at this time being the only visitors here, there’s quite a bit of pressure to buy. No overt pressure - just the kind of pressure that comes from having 14 villagers watching you as you walk from table to table. Underwhelming Handicrafts and Souvenirs: There were a few quick dances and beating of drums, then the shopping began. Note: we both felt simply horrible for not being able to buy something from each other the tables.. We felt like we were letting them down, but the prices were just too high. I’ve often found when visiting a place that makes something - looms, shoes, carvings etc - they’re eager to show you where these things are made and show off their artisanship. This didn’t happen in the village, which increased my wariness. I asked Jose (our guide) and he assured us these were all made in the village. Cool. One table had some turtles that were carved out of nuts - the guy looked me in the eye and said ‘I carved this’ - and it was pretty cool. Another table the woman said my family makes these (wooden statues), woven bowels, bracelets etc. We ended up buying about $70 worth of stuff - a bowl ($12), a jaguar pendant ($20), bracelets ($5), fabric ($20), beads ($10). After shopping, we had a quick internal discussion and found the experience for us ended promptly at 6:30pm, when the sun set - and we were left with 12 hours in the dark, sweating and swinging in hammocks. We decided to give our second night pass and head back to the city a day early as there was nothing more to experience here. I jumped in the river (on my bucket list) then dried off - and we repeated the trip down the river (no problems and lots of boats) and back into the city (oddly totally exhausted). Sadly, the next day in the city - we perused the souvenir shop indeed we found almost every single item that was in the village - often for 50% less. That $20 Jaguar pendant that was hand carved by the villager? There were a dozen of them in many shops for $7. The hand weaved bowls? Absolutely everywhere. The hand designed fabric? Half price hanging in the shops with many of the same lotus flower. Wooden statues of animals that are guide assured us were ‘amazing and beautiful’ - were again fractions of the tribal price and omnipresent.. (sigh) Conclusion: Our visit to Embera Puru Village ultimately proved to be a disappointment. The lack of interaction with the tribe members, limited activities, and questionable authenticity left us feeling dissatisfied. If you don’t make anything in the village, that’s fine - but please don’t lie to our face. While the boat ride and the night spent in hammocks had their charm, the overall trip did not live up to our expectations. Our guide failed to provide meaningful engagement, and the tribe members appeared uninterested in interacting with us. As a result, we returned home with very few photographs, save for some shots of thatched huts, dogs, and plenty of chickens. Worth a day trip at best, and skip Embera Village Tours.
  • 54Kamrul
    Enjoyable Tour With Tamara
    Arrived in Panama with friends and Tamara Arranged Some Tour for us. This is the most amazing tour we like most. They picked up us from our hotel in Panama City and Tamara lead us to go different places around this city. Brought us to the beautiful national park across the river. She introduced us different events, cultural activities. The whole day till night she treated us a very kind and generous. That was the best tour experience with Tamara. Tamara +50763242898
  • warmmemories4u
    Great experience
    The best excursion I have been on! We learned so much about the Embera tribe! Will definitely be coming back in the future!
  • Bunmaster2014
    I love roughing it, getting out into the back country and visiting indigenous peoples in their native habitat. I've done it in other parts of Central and South America. Down rivers in a canoe or motorized skiff. Eating the native food. Learning of their customs. This edifying tour gave me all of that.
  • Richard M
    Richard M
    Embera Puru Biakiru
    This is one of the best tours I ever took. The Embera have balanced living in a manner they lived for hundreds of years with the modern world, and love explaining the history with you. The tour picked us up, we drove for about an hour to Puerto de Corotu, on the Upper Chagres River. This is not really a port. It is a small dock for dugout canoes with outboards on a muddy riverbank. Our first stop was the cascade. The walk to the waterfall is an adventure in itself in the dry season (when we were there). Our guide was super, but he had to hold my wife’s hand most of the time to keep her balance on the slippery rocks and through the creek bed. The walk takes most people about half an hour. It took us 45 minutes each way. It is worth the time. The water temperature is comfortable, and a dip in the pool below the falls is welcome after the walk. Then on to the village, which many visitors described. I will not add to it except to say if you only like fine dining, fine art museums, and “creature comforts,” you will not like this tour. If you like learning the history of cultures, how they actually live, and experiencing a taste of it, then this is a tour you should not miss.
  • Andy K
    Andy K
    Lo.vely coach ride from Panama city to Charro river Up the river on motorised canoes tothe riverside village. Welcome, dancing, demonstartions lunch and free walkabout time. Lovely visit to a sort of living museum. Embera live sort of like they always did. Very good visit and a lovely thing to do Great fun
  • WhiteMouseBurrow
    3 in 1
    In fact, the trip consists of three parts: 1. The Indians meet you on long pies and swim along the river to their village. 2. Arriving in their village, you will get acquainted with the patriarchal way of life and watch a small dance show. 3. Then you will have a water trip up the stream ... if we knew about this beforehand ... at the end of the trip you will find a waterfall with a small lagoon where you can swim.
  • EndlessSummerCaptain
    Great Place to Visit
    Natives are friendly and make great hosts! Lunch was terrific -- fresh and cooked very well. Hike around the perimeter of the village was most informative. Their ingenuity was tremendous. Trips to and from the village were on small, narrow, hand built/formed boats -- exciting. Trinkets are very nice and affordable.
  • sarahsP7185IF
    Wonderful cultural experience
    We had a wonderful day at the Embera Puru Village. Although it was rainy the dugout canoe ride (which is motored not paddled) Was a lovely ride and helped us disconnect from the communities we had just driven through. We were welcomed with song and warmly welcomed by the village leader. We had a delicious lunch and tour of the village and were able to participate in song and dance with the community. My two-year-old and five-year-old loved the experience and my husband and I did as well. It was a highlight of our trip to Panama and Costa Rica. The people were open and welcoming and althoughI did wonder if they felt coerced in someway to be a part of this tourism I left with the impression that they were not. I appreciated their willingness to allow visitors in and we bought mini craft items from the people there. I hope that my impression is correct and that these people truly enjoy sharing their culture with others. It is important for all of us in today’s world to open her eyes and experience different cultures and this was a great way for my family to do that
  • SherryCormier51
    Excellent Experience
    We had a wonderful day today led by Ruben of Panama Tours, He was very knowledgeable and accommodating - actually one of the best guides we have had. The Embera Village should not be missed. Just the canoe ride to the village takes your breath away. While the walk to the waterfall is very scenic, it also requires care as you cross streams and are wet up to your knees. The information and meal provided by the Embera Tribe is exceptional as are the quality handwork that is sold at very reasonable prices. Don’t miss it and try to book it with Ruben
  • blkdolfin
    Went to the Katuma Embera village. It was simply joyful. Met the Headman, his grandson and family. My friend danced with them, we both got tats and had a lovely traditional meal of fish and pantecones. I loved one of the skirts worn and the lady took it off so I could buy it!
  • panama507tours
    During the tour i discover the area, in the first time people visit the National Park visitor Center and aftter tthe persons visit the comunity with the waterfalls
  • JerryVaughn
    A "Must Do" if you are in Panama
    This tour was the highlight of our trip to Panama. It was incredibly interesting, scenic and a terrific experience. Our guide from Panamazing, Gil Guardia was exceptional. His knowledge and love of his job were very apparent and he is really good at what he does. Couldn't recommend him higher. He makes the trip a true experience.
  • Tom M
    Tom M
    Stepping back in time
    Water trip in a motorized dug-out canoe to the village is the first part of this adventure; Native Embera Villagers provided their native dance and songs; A meal of freshly caught Tilapia cooked in large iron pots pared with fresh fruits was a wonderful experience; Learning the Embera culture and talking with the Tribal Chief was a fantastic experience;
  • HTSandown
    Great tour, great guide
    One of my favorite tours. Thought this would be "touristy" but was pleasantly surprised. The village tour was interesting and the program that was presented was very good. Would definitely recommend. My only criticism would be it would have been nice to have been told to wear our bathing suits or put on at the village because of course there was no where to change at the waterfall.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

85 reviews
Very good

Southport, NC515 contributions
Feb. 2020 • Couples
Jorge met us an route before we boarded dugout canoes (stay low and hold on to the Gonzales). First and second passengers should have water protection from the spray.

Met by a band on arrival. Everyone was friendly and seemed pleased to see us. They loved Jorge.

Introduction and culture discussion was pleasant and informative. Hike around the village perimeter was enjoyable and learned about botanical cures.

Lunch was tilapia I ever had. Kids were the cutest.

Definitely recommend it but can't really recommend a tour company.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Anne G
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at the the village with the Embera. We encourage you to tell your friends about the tour. I'm not sure why you say you can't recommend a tour company. If you encountered something unpleasant because of us, Embera Village Tours, we would be interested in hearing about it. Please contact us at
Written February 27, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kiera G
3 contributions
Feb. 2020 • Friends
We had a fantastic day - our host, Javier, was knowledgeable, very friendly and clearly passionate about his country. The Embera people themselves were beautiful and incredibly welcoming. The food was tasty, the mini-hike was fun and informative, and the markets were colourful and very reasonably priced.
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Anne G
Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion of our tour. We really appreciate your input. Please be sure to tell your friends about us.
Written February 25, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Indianapolis55 contributions
Jan. 2023
This really is the only way to go for an embera experience. We talked to other tourists later in the week who were with large tourist groups at villages that were more modern than this one. We were the only 10 tourists there. We learned a lot and it was a great experience. Also by booking with this embera-owned company, all the money goes to them. We liked that.
Written February 1, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review. We very much appreciate your comments.
Written February 4, 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Los Angeles, CA598 contributions
Nov. 2022
I enjoyed the village day tour. As it rains in the afternoon, we left quite early but still felt like we had a good overview into the local life. We had a delicious lunch and bought a few small woven goodies.
Written December 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

New York City, NY32 contributions
Aug. 2023 • Solo
I visited Embera village in Chagres river area. It is only about one hour drive away from Panama City but million light years away in living lifestyle. Love, love this experience. It should be must for everyone visiting Panama City
Written August 16, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to share your review. We hope to see you again.
Written August 17, 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Susan O
Saint Cloud, FL46 contributions
Apr. 2018 • Couples
If you believe this is the real deal, guess what.. it's not! To truly see the Embera Village people in their natural habitat, you must travel a great distance. Do your research! This was an exploitation of the people of the village for the Princess Cruise Line to make money. The entire visit was nothing but a sales pitch for you to buy their goods, which quite frankly were not made by these people. Even the homes they supposedly lived in were staged. Take notice of their beautiful white teeth - they looked better than my own! They made you believe they couldn't understand English, but often corrected the Tour Guide when he was translating. And the best part of it all, the tourists bought right into it! Feel free to waste your money on this fake excursion.
Written April 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Orlando, FL224 contributions
Jun. 2019 • Friends
Calling all of you who want a one of a kind adventure! You will begin the day at 8 am with a personal hotel pick up. Hopefully, you will secure DANIEL as your guide. He is fluent in both Spanish and English. There were only THREE guests on our tour. You travel about 1 1/2 hours in an air conditioned van. You will then transfer to a four wheel drive truck. You can sit in the cab or ride on benches in the truck bed to experience the breeze and the bumps. You then greet your Embera Indian guides who will paddle, pole and push your canoe down the scenic river. Another group of four took a second canoe. There were only 7 guests! The river is quiet and peaceful. You will not get wet and it is flat bottomed. Yes! You CAN go on this adventure even if you are not athletic. The canoe trip takes 30 minutes. You will be surrounded by a national forest with lush, exquisite views. Look to the left and see if you can be the first to see the grass roofs of Embera homes. Men will greet you with homemade instruments playing beautiful melodies that will make you feel like royalty. Ladies will line up to welcome you to Embera Village. Let me tell you so you will not be shocked. Men wear very little. In fact, they wear more tattoos than clothes. Ladies wear colorful skirts but no tops. PLEASE, do not take this trip to gawk. Respect the Embera Indians and their culture. Handcrafts are made and sold by the 30 families who live in this remote village. Their sales are their livelihood. Expect about a 20% discount, if you ask. You will then freely walk about the village where they live. You will be treated to fried tilapia, plantains, pineapple and papaya which they will cook over a wood fire or serve freshly sliced. Delicious! BRING YOUR BEVERAGE. None is sold or offered. Those that can walk up the mountain can venture up with Daniel as he points out various plants and trees. You will also see the schoolhouse. Three Panamanian teachers teach in two classrooms. The children are grouped by ages. Teachers are assigned and if they do not accept, they are fired. They must live there during the week. The children are educated up through fifth grade. They can then stop school or walk two hours to school or board with another family. Those that do this most often return to the vial age after completion. One is now a village teacher! The next event is tribal dancing. Visit the crude toilets/ out house before you begin your journey home. This is an UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE! Ask Daniel to stop at Rico’s for coffee, ice cream and spectacular pastries—most cost $1.00! Do I get a helpful vote?
Written June 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Old Lyme, CT25 contributions
Mar. 2014 • Family
We contacted the Embera Tribe directly by telephone at (507) 6709-1233 and spoke with Ivan. You can find information about this village and overnight on their website (don't expect them to answer an email-you will need to call). If you contact them directly rather than through a tour agency the price is less-our overnight including the boat trip and all food was $70 per person. Ivan arranged for us to be picked up at the port of Corutu and leave our car there, although they can also arrange transportation from the city. We took the dug out canoe up the river, stopping at a waterfall and swimming. The boat trip was worth the cost alone as it was really amazing in a dug out canoe! We got to the village, had a good fish and plantain lunch, and watched some dancing. Then the 6 other tourists who were there left, and we were alone with the Emberas. Most changed into their more westernized clothes, but rather than feeling like they were not comfortable in their native dress, I felt that these were their "good" clothes and they removed them to keep them in shape for the next event. We went swimming in the river which was crystal clear and very refreshing. It was fun to watch the kids swimming and fishing. Then we went up the hill and looked at the handicrafts, did some weaving with Berta, and got vegetable dye tattoos which is their form of sunscreen. We watched them cook dinner over an open fire and prepare the food with their carved wooden platters and utensils. People drifted in and out to talk with us, and seemed to be very warm and happy people. My husband had a previous foot injury and was treated by the medicine man. He took us for a walk and showed us his medicinal garden and explained the benefits of each plant. He gave us a small piece of wood to chew which fizzed and tingled, and it is their anesthesia. Berta cooked a form of pasta for dinner which tasted great. We spent the night comfortably in tents inside the communal hut. There is a visitor bathroom which was fine (although we noticed someone was probably watching us and turning the water on and off as we went in). The next day we had fish and plantains for breakfast and then watched the tribe gear up for a large load of cruise ship people who were coming for lunch and a dance performance. It was fascinating to be behind the scenes. The tribe borrowed engines and boats from other villages. Everyone from smallest child to the elderly went in the river or their open air showers and got into their best clothes. The women were cooking masses of fish and sweeping the grounds. There is a covered platform at the top of the hill where people were posted to watch for the dug out canoes that bring the tourists. When the boats were spotted the musicians went to the platform and played music as the (in this case mostly older, overweight American) tourists made their way up the stairs. We sat on the platform just behind the musicians. Each tourist looked up, smiled and took a photo in the same place! It was really fun to watch. The tourists were guided into the shady pavillion where we had slept and were handed food and taken care of nicely by the villagers. Everyone pitched in according to their abilities.
This experience is only as good as you make it. If you are willing to take a risk and be outgoing and interested in their lifestyle, they are very willing to share it with you. The overnight is unstructured and you can do what you want and go where you want. Spending the night was an adventure and I think allowed us to see a lot more of what goes on, and really explore the village. After 2 days there, I did not feel like the few hour tourist experience most people have is phony, rather it is like a formal visit. To experience the informal lifestyle you need to spend the night, and swim, eat and hang out with the villagers. During our trip to Panama we went to San Blas, Anton valley, Gamboa, and Las Perlas, and this was probably the part of my trip that I will remember most.
Written March 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Seattle, WA28 contributions
This is definitely well worth the money.

The Bad: loading the canoes correctly so 65% of the weight is from mid back and left and right sides are balanced. Don't put the biggest guy in the middle by himself because everytime he moves the boat tips. He belongs in the back.
Boats leaked a little, so wear sandals or shoes that dry fast.
People do not know how to ride in the canoe, so they leaned on all the turns. Stay in the middle. Does not appear they had extended keeps all the way down the middle of their boats either. Bottoms were flat. If you can't sit on a hard flat board for an hour you may want to forgo this trip. Stupid people giving the villagers candy.

The Good: Everything else. They use outboard motors to move you up the water so no paddling. The views going up the lake to the river were amazing and Gorgeous. There were other huts and structures going up the river but still nice. It rained during the entire trip to the village, but packed my lightweight Helley rain jacket. Where shoes that also have some support because the ground is very slick. It's hard pan or clay like dirt and wet and slippery. The villagers are barefoot so they had no problems. As a note, most of the women and teenagers are Not covered so maybe an issue for some. The ware's they sell are made very well and price is negotiable. I didn't press too much because they work alot harder than I do to make a buck.
The food they shared with us was fish and plantains. Fish was boney but delicious. Plantains have very little flavor but provide nourishment. Walking around on the grounds was interesting seeing how they live. Very simple. They have received some some things to help them such as coolers, a generator, solar panels and cut timber. A few of them speak broken English but mainly Spanish and their own specific Language.
As a reminder they are opening their home and village to you as a visitor, so some of them may seem put off or even bored because we are interrupting their daily lives. Specifically some of the teenage girls. Most of the girls and the boys and adults are selling and doing chores. The children were playing soccer or walking around being cute.
Explore all you can while your there. Their school house is nice but going up the hill to see it is very slippery and dangerous. We did encounter a very large rooster at the school so be careful since they get very aggressive when the hen's and babies are around.
Overall an awesome trip.
Written December 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Willemstad, Curaçao114 contributions
Jul. 2019 • Family
Visited the Emberá Drúa during a family vacation. We were picked up very early and our tour guide Leonel Vergara (shout-out to Leo !) spoke fluent English and Spanish. On the way to the canoe pickup spot the guides stopped to buy fresh fruit which was later cleaned and prepared for us by the Embera. We were then dropped at a spot and transferred over to canoes (with outboard motor) and taken to the village in a ride that lasted about 40 minutes. During our trip the river was actually very shallow, so we had no sense of danger. I did hear though that certain seasons the river could be very high. But the canoes were wide enough and not experienced as dangerous at all.
The Embera are very friendly people, explained their history and customs and provided us with a dee-licious lunch of patacones (fried plantain) and freshly caught fried fish wrapped in plaintain leaves. We were able to buy some hand-made souvenirs, explore the village (do not go into the houses) and interact with them. They even gave us tattoos made with their own natural ink (temporary only, not permanent tattoos). A day well spent in the jungle. Do not miss this opportunity if you are in Panama City.
Written August 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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